Home Cancel Assassin’s Creed Shadows demand angry Japanese gamers furious at Ubisoft’s lack of ‘cultural respect’

Cancel Assassin’s Creed Shadows demand angry Japanese gamers furious at Ubisoft’s lack of ‘cultural respect’

Anybody who has been online for more than five minutes in their lifetime instinctively knew that Ubisoft’s first portrayal of the land of the Rising Sun in an Assassin’s Creed game was, at best, going to raise eyebrows.

Now you can rarely accuse Assassin’s Creed games of being steeped in historical accuracy anyway, but by making the two main characters bear no semblance to the historical setting they are placed into was going to annoy people who are big fans of accurately representing cultures and the like.

In Assassin’s Creed: Shadows for starters, the female – Naoe – is a made-up ninja. So what you might say. The second character, Yasuke, seems to be the one a lot more people have taken issues with.

The real-life African, Yasuke served a short period of time as a vassal or retainer to warlord Oda Nobunaga. In AC Shadows he is a full-on Samurai.

Does it matter? Japanese gamers think so with one starting up a petition that states (in part):

The game is about samurai in Japan and ignores the fact that samurai are the upper class of the samurai class and should be “gokejin” or nobles who serve them. In fact, William Adams, the first European to receive the title of samurai, was a man in the service of Tokugawa Ieyasu as the bannerman of the 250 koku.

In this history, Ubisoft continues to misunderstand the nature and role of the samurai. This is a serious insult to Japan’s culture and history, and can also lead to Asian racism. We call on Ubisoft to immediately cease the release of Assassin’s Creed Shadows and to show sincere research and respect for Japan’s history and culture.

The petition has a target of 35,000 signatures and at the time of writing is fast approaching 29k of them.

Not that it will make a difference of course. A lot of the issues seem to be around the game being pushed as accurate whereas it is seen by signatories of the petition as out and out fiction.

One comment however says, “This is falsification of history. We cannot just stand by and let it happen. In addition, the content of the game and the response of the manufacturer showed no respect for Japan. It is unbearable to see black samurai slaughtering Japanese people. I hereby object.”

We await the time-honored tradition of a good old-fashioned review bombing.

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The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Paul McNally
Gaming Editor

Paul McNally has been around consoles and computers since his parents bought him a Mattel Intellivision in 1980. He has been a prominent games journalist since the 1990s, spending over a decade as editor of popular print-based video games and computer magazines, including a market-leading PlayStation title published by IDG Media. Having spent time as Head of Communications at a professional sports club and working for high-profile charities such as the National Literacy Trust, he returned as Managing Editor in charge of large US-based technology websites in 2020. Paul has written high-end gaming content for GamePro, Official Australian PlayStation Magazine,…

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